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Evan Nabavian was the first responder at Andre Rison’s four alarm blaze

I’m 24. I have thick eyebrows and stubble that never really goes away. People tell me I look like the Grinch and sound like Darth Vader. They suggest I smile more. They should see me when I listen to “Weak” by Angel Taylor.

I ride for the girly pop-R&B of my youth. The 702 kind. The Blaque kind. The T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli kind. I see some of you nodding. Real heads know. “Honey” might be the gold standard. Saccharine and girly, but sexy and swinging enough to support a Biggie verse as in the case of “Can’t You See” by Total.

This is where “Weak” fits. Steeped in adolescent melodrama, Angel’s single speaks to a relationship on the rocks; she knows he’s no good, but she can’t stay away. The beat takes a hip-hop hallmark, the “Synthetic Substitution” drums, and layers it with soaring melodies to activate the nostalgia center in your brain. In the good old days, “Weak” would be fast-tracked for a remix with a gravel-voiced New York rapper with a hint of a soft side, though Angel’s gospel bonafides might prevent her from doing that — she hails from the gospel group Trinitee 5:7.

So where did this music go? Part of it is that the 90s are over and we as a generation have to accept that. But I also place some blame on Beyonce who changed the paradigm for R&B/pop singers from CrazySexyCool to “Independent Woman”. There’s a scarcity of playfulness in pop today that makes it a lot less fun. I will leave my Beyonce argument there for fear of getting my house burned down.

“Weak” brings out my inner 12 year old girl, which must be terrible to behold; this is why I only listen to this song behind closed doors and on New York City subways. But I don’t think I’m alone here. Son Raw voiced a similar sentiment in his DJ Q review — there’s an audience for big shiny pop songs, an audience that has no stomach for artificially flavored product from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj. And until they get what they want, they’re going to gripe about it on alternative music blogs.



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